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GEO 265
GIS Practicum

GEO 265 is offered every quarter.

FALL Term 2003

Section 002: WF 1:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m
Digital Earth Classroom, Wilkinson 210
Lab is open M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
View lab hours at dusk.geo.orst.edu/de/de_teach.html

Prerequisite: NONE but you SHOULD have had some basic experience with Windows computers and be able to perform basic tasks, such as moving, copying and deleting files, making and changing directories, working with simple word processers and graphics programs, and surfing the Internet.

Web Site URL: http://dusk.geo.orst.edu/arc

REQUIRED FOR CLASS: 1 zip disk or writeable CD-ROM, formatted for PCs. These are available from the OSU Bookstore.

Also, all students MUST have a SCIENCE account in order to use the computers in Digital Earth. Mark Meyers, our lab manager, will create an account for you, or should be contacted if you do not yet have an account. These accounts provide 200 Mb of local storage space. Each computer is equipped with CD-RW and 250 Mb zip drives.

REQUIRED Text: GIS Concepts and ArcView Methods
"Ideal for university GIS courses, this handbook bridges the gap between user manuals and textbooks. It demonstrates the concepts of GIS and the fundamentals of ArcView GIS software, relating the how and why of operations together. The book covers basic topics such as how to display, query, and edit shapefiles and advanced topics such as how to construct complex spatial models using Spatial Analyst and how to write programs using Avenue. For the novice user, the GIS framework provides the context to understand, not just how to use a particular function, but why and when it should be used. For the advanced user, the book details many features and shortcuts (some undocumented) that will make work sessions more productive. The book also contains numerous references to other materials, including his a web page with a number of FAQs, tips, and scripts." David Theobald, 1999, 198 pp., $40.00 (list), ISBN: 0-9679208-1-7. Description from the ESRI Bookstore Catalog Book Web Site
REQUIRED Text: GIS Concepts and ArcGIS Methods
"... combines the how and why into one complete reference. This book bridges the information gap between user manuals and textbooks by fusing ArcGIS methods and techniques with a compilation of basic geographical concepts to benefit both beginners and experts. It is an ideal textbook for introductory GIS courses as it demonstrates how to display, query, edit, and analyze both feature and raster-based geographic data using ArcGIS, all within the broader context of fundamental GIS concepts." David Theobald, 2003, 198 pp., $55.00 (list), ISBN: 0-9679208-2-5. Description from Conservation Planning Technologies Book Web Site

Optional Text: Getting to Know ArcView GIS 3.x
Includes CD_ROM
"The CD packaged with this introductory book includes a working demonstration copy of ArcView Version 3.x software, a hands-on ArcView tutorial, and informative multimedia presentations. Part I of the book is a nontechnical introduction to GIS technology, while Part II offers illustrated, step-by-step procedures and tips for using ArcView software to perform scores of GIS tasks. Readers can follow the scenario-based exercises in the book or work through them on-line using the data and software provided on the CD. The book is teeming with full-color maps and illustrations that complement the book's easy-to-read text. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of basic GIS concepts and the skills they will need to embark on an ArcView project of their own." Ormsby et al., 1998, 660 pp., $49.95 (list), ISBN: 1-879102-46-3. Description from the ESRI Bookstore Catalog

Optional Text: Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop by Ormsby et al.
Includes CD_ROM
"Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop is a workbook for learning ArcGIS, the newest GIS technology from ESRI. The three GIS products that comprise ArcGIS: ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo, are built on a common interface and core capability, with each product offering a different level of functionality. Users of Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop gain a thorough understanding of ArcView, which they can put to work immediately or use as a firm foundation for learning ArcEditor and ArcInfo. Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop employs the teaching approach used so effectively in the best-selling Getting to Know ArcView GIS from ESRI Press. Richly detailed illustrations and step-by-step exercises teach basic GIS tasks, from mapmaking, to spatial analysis, to database creation. Readers learn to use the software that forms the building blocks of ArcGIS: ArcMap, for displaying and querying maps; ArcCatalog, for managing geographic data; and ArcToolbox, for setting map projections and converting data. Also included in the book are explorations of the newest ESRI data format, the geodatabase, which stores spatial and attribute information in a relational database." ESRI Press, 2001, 552 pp., $59.95 (list), ISBN: 1-879102-89-7. Description from the ESRI Bookstore Catalog. Image used by permission.

This course will provide you with a basic working knowledge of the ArcView 3.x and ArcGIS 8.x software packages. You will be using the basic functionality of these packages to:

You will be spending most of your time working through exercises and projects. The course will also include online modules from the ESRI Virtual Campus. Although GEO 265 contains a little theory, it is primarily a hands-on experience (take GEO 465/565 for fundamental theory and background on GIS). The instructor and teaching assistant will spend a good portion of their class time in one-on-one assistance. For each exercise, you will be preparing a lab report, and throughout the term you will be required to keep a lab notebook.

Although there will be time to work on exercises and projects in class, you should expect to spend a considerable amount of time working in the lab outside the regular class period.

Please listen when the instructor introduces new material to the class. It will be very tempting to simply continue working on a current exercise, but then you run the risk of falling very far behind.

We are not only working with individual computers, but with machines on a network. And the ArcGIS software package in particular is not always "user-friendly". THINGS WILL GO WRONG! When they do, try the following:


This is a hands-on practicuum designed primarily to teach you how to use specific software packages. Approximately half of your grade will be based on a series of exercises, the other half will be based on a major project.

The due date for each exercise and project will be announced in class when distributed and posted on the class web site.

We will not accept any excuses for late papers. Points will be deducted for each day that an exercise or project is late.

Please BE NEAT! Both organization and writing ability will be considered in the assignment of grades. Please communicate as a professional.


The above is subject to slight alteration and we will, of course, announce this in class. There will be NO final exam.
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Last updated September 28, 2003